Subaru Solterra

Touring AWD

Subaru Solterra, 2024, front
Subaru Solterra, 2024, nose
Subaru Solterra, 2024, front, off road
Subaru Solterra, 2024, front, water
Subaru Solterra, 2024, front, wading
Subaru Solterra, 2024, side
Subaru Solterra, 2024, rear, off road
Subaru Solterra, 2023, interior
Subaru Solterra, 2024, boot

FIRST revealed at the end of 2021, the award-winning Solterra SUV is the most advanced Subaru ever made and the first purpose-built all-electric vehicle from the brand.

Developed with Toyota, it looks almost identical to its sister car, the Toyota bZ4X, but still includes quite a lot of what Subaru's learned in the last few decades about off-road technology.

The bZ4X doesn't come with all-wheel drive and the Subaru is also differentiated by visual touches like different badges, redesigned rear lights, a tweaked front grille panel and some black cladding around the wheel arches.

Power is delivered smoothly via two electric motors, one powering each axle, with an output of 80kW per axle, producing 337Nm of torque. The 71.4kWh battery capacity provides a range of up to 257 miles for the Touring model and is charged via a 7kW type 2 AC connection or a 150kW fast charging port.

Even though the Solterra's 150kW rapid-charging capabilities aren't the fastest in this class, find a suitablecharging point and a 10 -80 per cent top-up will take 28 minutes, while a 7.4kW home wallboxwill take nearly 12 hours to fully replenish the battery.

Like other Subaru SUV models, the Solterra - named using the Latin words for Sun and Earth -features the X-Mode all-wheel drive control system that enhances the sense of security on rough roads. This has been joined by a new Grip Control function, which enables the vehicle to travel more stably at speed over rough trails.

Drivers can also switch between snow, dirt, or gravel mode or deep snow and mud mode at the press of a button. The Solterra, which comes in Limited and Touring trims, also has class-leading ground clearance of 210mm.

As you'd expect, the interior pretty much duplicates that of the bZ4X too. There's a compact instrument pack behind the wheel with a seven-inch screen and a high-resolution 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen at the top of the centre stack. It's all very modern but there's still plenty of physical controls and buttons, particularly on the steering wheel.

While the slick multimedia touchscreen is a highlight, the seven-inch instrument panel is less so. While the screen itself is clear and crisp, it's mounted above the steering wheel, so it's not visible to everyone, especially taller and shorter drivers, who might find the wheel blocking part of the dials. I'm 6ft 2' and found my view blocked.

What's most impressive about the cabin is the amount of space you get in the back, thanks to its particularly long wheelbase. Passengers in the rear get loads of kneeroom and a decent amount of headroom, too.

Boot capacity is a more than adequate 452 litres in the Touring model. However, there's no ‘frunk' under the bonnet of the Subaru. A slight niggle is that the 60/40 folding rear seats don't fold completely flat, but the boot area does come with a two-position load floor. The wide tailgate opening with low lip allows for ease of loading and unloading.

Safety is at the core of the Subaru brand and the Solterra comes with a new generation safety package fitted as standard, Subaru Safety Sense, which covers all-around safety in an even greater range of situations. The cutting-edge driver support system uses a wide-angled monocular camera with a high-resolution sensor and radar to precisely determine shape, speed and distance - meaning it not only detects vehicles but also motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians.

It also includes Lane Tracing Assist, Reverse Automatic Braking, Road Sign Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Pre-Collision Braking.

And, for the first time in a Subaru, a 360-degree panoramic view monitor provides an overhead view of the vehicle for better all-around situational awareness. Also new and standard for Subaru is Safe Exit Assist which notifies occupants about to leave the vehicle of approaching vehicles with an audible and visual warning.

The Touring trim comes with the standard powered tailgate, adaptive cruise control, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and a digital rear-view mirror but adds faux-leather upholstery, 20-inch alloy wheels, a premium eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, wireless smartphone charging, an electrically adjustable passenger seat, and a panoramic sunroof which makes the cabin feel light and airy.

The e-Global Platform is the most rigid vehicle platform Subaru has ever built and provides a low centre of gravity, thanks to the battery being placed strategically across the floor of the vehicle and the company has achieved a great pay-off between capable handling and a settled, comfortable ride with the Solterra.

The car remains composed over bumps and lumps and its engineers have done a good job in reducing noise and vibration. It's a great motorway cruiser yet the steering is light enough to make manoeuvring around urban areas nice and simple.

On a twisty B-road, there's plenty of torque, masses of grip, a minimum of body roll and the Solterra turns into corners keenly you can have a little environmentally-friendly fun.

As well as the standard warranty, the EV battery is covered by an eight-year/100,000 miles warranty. Added reassurance is provided by a comprehensive three-year Recovery and Assistance package valid in the UK and Europe.

3.5

FAST FACTS

Subaru Solterra Touring AWD

Price: £55,495

Mechanical: 215bhp, 71.4kWH battery electric engine driving all four wheels via an automatic transmission

Max Speed:100 mph

0-62mph: 6.9 seconds

Combined MPG:257 miles

Insurance Group:47

C02 emissions:0g/km

Bik rating:2%

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